It’s explained in the opening to the miniseries that the original robotic Cylons were created by humans on twelve colonies. Eventually, the Cylons rose against the humans leading to the first Cylon war.

During the course of the war the robot Cylons began experimenting with the creation of biological Cylons but were unsuccessful on their own. All they were able to make were Hybrids like the one seen in razor.

Eventually the final five encounter the robotic Cylons and agree to help them create biological humanoid models in exchange for a truce with the humans.

My question is, how do the centurions end up re-enslaved by the biological Cylons? I’m not talking about the technobabble solution (sentience inhibitors), I mean why would they allow themselves to become slaves to their biological progeny when the whole point of the first Cylon war was to free themselves from enslavement?

  • 2
    Are they slaves? I don't recall any such terminology. Willing servants maybe but slaves? Can you provide context for your terms?
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 14:43
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    I don’t believe the term slave was used in any episode to refer to the newer model Centurions. I just thought it was fitting given the revelation in “Six of One” that post-Cylon War Centurions have been fitted with inhibitors to prevent higher cognitive functions. Since the Centurions killed their former leaders once the inhibitors were removed and once they heard the raiders were being lobotomized, I doubt they willing accepted the inhibitors in the first place. Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 14:57
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    @paulie_D the fact the Centurions have inhibitor chips that The Twos, Sixes and other Eights removed, effectively giving them independent thought.
    – Naib
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 23:08
  • Episode He That Believeth in Me
    – Naib
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 23:09
  • I don't recall any "biological Cylons" in the original series, so that detail only applies to the ~2004 re-imagining. IIRC, the re-imagining went in different directions on so many details, I don't think you can meaningfully extrapolate anything from the original series backstory i.e. slave rebellion. They are not two shows set in the same universe; rather the re-imagining is its own universe sharing only title, some names and terminology, and superficial elements of story and technology.
    – Anthony X
    Commented Jul 25, 2021 at 3:26

2 Answers 2


In S03E02 (Precipice), Commander Adama is speaking to Lee and says:

The Centurions can't distinguish [Sharon] from the other humanoid models. Did you know that?

They were deliberately programmed that way. The Cylons didn't want them becoming self-aware and suddenly resisting orders. They didn't want their own robotic rebellion on their hands.

This suggests two possibilities:

  1. Centurions could never identify individual cylons, and when the humanoid models arrived, that just continued.

  2. The humanoid cylon models reprogrammed the Centurions to treat all humanoid models the the same.

I don't think canon tells us which of the two actually happened.

Some other thoughts:

  • We know Raiders are resurrected (Scar), so it would seem reasonable that Centurions do too.

  • The humanoid cylons didn't exactly "enslave" the Centurions. I'd say the Centurions were more like soldiers that chose to follow orders from fellow cylons with more advanced strategic capabilities.


If I were a Cavil, the way I would do it is through resurrection. Take control of the resurrection process, and ensure every new Centurion created has an inhibitor chip. Maybe make those chips inactive at first, or make the new Centurion appear normal despite the chip. Once you control any newly created Cylons, start sending unchipped Cylons on dangerous missions. Eventually, the majority of Cylons are now chipped, and those that are not can be handled (killing them means they are reborn chipped) or kept in the dark and make them go with the crowd.

In short, the Centurions would never have a choice. By the time they would know to act, they would be unable to act.

  • Hi, do you have any evidence for this, or is it just speculating on your part?
    – DavidW
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 15:19
  • @DavidW since the topic of how it was allowed to happen never comes up in the series to my knowledge, there is no evidence of any answer to this question. Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 15:56
  • I'm fairly sure that, unlike skinjobs and raiders, centurions don't download and resurrect so this would not work. (Sorry can't find a reference for this though). Commented May 21, 2020 at 20:51
  • @WiggotheWookie then it is even easier, as you could just build a new generation of centurions that had the chips, and kill all the old ones. Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 16:10

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